NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Managing general partner and co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees looks on during a news conference introducing Masahiro Tanaka (not pictured) to the media on February 11, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
This is absolutely infuriating to me. The Yankees came within a game of the World Series in 2017. Since then, they’ve had a pair of ALDS exits, and another loss in the ALCS. When a team that went to Game 6 of the ALCS last season signs one of the best pitchers in baseball, only to lose in the ALDS to their division rival that they outspend nearly 4:1, that’s a failure. Can you imagine George saying that scenario is not a failure?
I’m not trying to say the George Steinbrenner method worked 100% of the time. It didn’t pan out in the 80’s, and it was his suspension that allowed Stick Michael to lay the blueprints of the 90’s dynasty.But at least you always knew that he wanted to win just as desperately as the fans did.
Years of Failure
The 2017 Yankees outperformed expectations, and put the rest of the league on notice. It’s been nothing but constant embarrassment since then. In 2018, the Red Sox used Brian Cashman’s “damage” quote as their rallying cry. They beat the Yankees 16-1 in a crucial swing game at Yankee Stadium, and Alex Cora told us to “suck on it” at their championship parade. The next year brought AJ Hinch laughing off the Yankees’ allegations that his club was cheating. Although those turned out to be true, the Astros took the ALCS in six. Finally, in 2020, Kevin Cash threatened the Yankees with his “stable of guys who throw 98.” The Rays backed up their manager’s trash talk, winning a heartbreaking ALDS Game 5. I don’t know how any Yankee fan wouldn’t be enraged that the men responsible for these outcomes refuse to acknowledge them for what they are; failures.
There’s a lot to like about this Yankee team. While I do believe they need to make some changes this offseason, I don’t think they need to re-invent the wheel. However, I expect the leaders of our team to call it like it is. The last three versions of this team were all built to win a championship, yet none of them managed to even win a pennant. That in and of itself is a failure.